Straight skirts in its simplest form are rectangle of fabric, either long or short, with an elastic waistband.
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Since straight skirt styles are plain, they can be worn with detailed tops without creating an overdone look to an outfit. Textured or cabled sweaters and multi-colored blouses may be paired with straight skirts. Ruffled or embroidered blouses are other tops ideally suited for the plain texture of straight-lined skirts. Other names for straight styles of skirts are the pencil and the column.
More complex straight skirts have fitted waistband with zipper fastener as well as side darts to shape the skirt to the body.
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The straight, pencil or column skirt suits all figure types except those that are either very full or extremely slim. Straight skirts may overly accentuate the narrowness and lack of curves in thin figures. Ruffles, layers, pleats or fullness tend to be better skirt features for lean body types. In the case of fuller figures, straight shape of skirt may create top-heavy, unbalanced look. An A-line skirt, which is basically straight skirt that flares gently downward, tends to be much more flattering on rounder figures.
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By contrast, hourglass body types are flattered by the straight skirt's extreme line. Pear shaped figures in which the top is narrower than the hips tend to look more balanced in straight-styled skirts. Soft, flowing fabric cut in straight line can be especially flattering on pear shaped bodies. Shorter women may appear taller in an above the knee straight skirt — especially one with vertical accents or stripes.
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Straight skirts tend to look best when worn with high-heeled shoes and boots rather than chunky or flat-soled footwear. Varying the fabric types in straight skirt styles make them ideal for all occasions. For example, long straight-lined silk skirt can be ultra-elegant for evening, while straight denim skirt is casual classic.